How my first marathon reconnected a lost relationship


Jeff Martin

Alex Martin and his dad Jeff running a marathon in Santa Cruz, Calif in May 2017.

I ran my first marathon in May 2017 in Santa Cruz, California. I have run 10 marathons in my life, but this first one stands out because it was also with my father, Jeff, who divorced my mom when I was 12 years old.

I spent years being upset with my father because of this choice. Before the divorce was final, he was dating a woman who is now his wife. I was very upset for a long time because it was tough to see him with someone other than my mother.

As the years went by, I treated my dad and his new wife nastily. We started butting heads quite a bit. Around the time I was approaching the age of 21, I started asking myself, “What if something had happened to my father? How bad would I feel if I didn’t clear the air with him?”

I finally approached him one day and laid everything on the table. I told him what was bothering me. It was tough and emotions were flowing, but I had to be honest and tell him everything on my mind.

Our relationship is much better now and we get along great. He is much easier to approach and I feel like I can tell him anything. We don’t always agree, but the important thing is we find a way to keep our relationship strong as father and son.

A few years later, he talked me into running. I wasn’t initially on board, but soon developed a passion for it. 

My father and I crossed the finish line at three hours and 56 minutes. When the race ended, I broke down in tears. Not only did I finish a race not many people could complete, but I also felt proud to have rebuilt the relationship between my dad and me.

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @alexmartinjour on Twitter.